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Segue 10: Fall 2011  ||  Dreams n Nightmares


second life primer


This guide was adapted from the excellent and more thorough Getting Started guide from Oregon State University:


NOTE: If you already have a Second Life account and want to head straight to the Virtual Segue Dreams n Nightmares installation, here is the SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Miami%20University/121/76/297/?title=Virtual%20Segue


Creating an Account

  • Visit  https://join.secondlife.com/ and create an account. Remember that your user name will be the name your avatar will go by in Second Life; you may or may not want to use your real name, here. You will use your user name/password to log into Second Life, so don’t forget it.
  • An activation email will be sent to the email address that you registered with. Follow the instructions in the email to activate your account.
  • After activation, the Second Life website will ask you select your starting location—Orientation Island or a Community Gateway. Orientation Island contains numerous hands-on tutorials for beginners.
  • Next, the Second Life website will take you to a download page. Follow the instructions listed to download and install the Second Life viewer on your computer.
  • Open the Second Life viewer on your computer. Log in using the avatar user name first and last name (not your real one) and password you created. You’re in!



If you chose Orientation Island as your starting location, that’s where your avatar will first arrive in Second Life. Make use of all the tutorials you find there to get yourself up to speed. Be thorough, because once you leave Orientation Island, you can’t go back. We’re not sure why that is. Fortunately, you can return the guide you’re reading now, or visit the official Second Life 2.0 Quick Start Guide on the Second Life website.



Text Chat

You can chat with anyone using the chat bar in the lower left corner of your viewer (it says "Click here to chat"). Type what you’d like to say, and your words will appear on your viewer screen. Everyone within ten meters will be able to “hear” what you say. Click anywhere outside of the chat area on your screen to stop chatting.

Instant Messaging (IM)

If you’d like to say something to someone privately, use IM. Right-click on an avatar and select “Send IM” from the pop-up menu. Type your message in the next pop up window, click Send, and your message will be sent only to that avatar. Keep the window open to read the avatar’s response, and to continue your private conversation.


Getting Around: Walking, Running, Flying

You can move your avatar around and change your camera view by using the interface controls. Access the interface controls by clicking on the "Move" and "View" buttons on the bottom bar of your screen. You can move by walking, running, or flying. Flying is pretty cool.



You can also move your avatar using your keyboard: 


Getting Around: Teleporting

Once you’re tired of orienting yourself, you can leave Orientation Island and explore the rest of this virtual world. Find and touch one of the "Enter Second Life" signs on the island to leave. You will be automatically teleported to a new location in Second Life.

To find other locations to explore in Second Life, use the search box in the upper right corner of your viewer. (You can also use this to locate individual people, groups, and events.) If you’re just starting out, the "Destination Guide" tab will showcase a few interesting places to visit.

Alternately, you can visit http://secondlife.com/destinations/, and select a category from the menu bar on the left. Select any destination, and click the orange Teleport button. In your Second Life viewer, a Place Profile will automatically open with information about the destination you’ve selected. At the bottom of the window, click the Teleport button to visit the destination.


How to Get to Miami University Island / Virtual Segue

The first place you’ll probably want to visit is Miami University Island and Virtual Segue:

  • Log in to Second Life.
  • Once you’re logged in, open this link in your web browser: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Miami%20University/33/220/47/?title=Miami%20University
  • Click the orange “teleport now" button.
  • Return to your Second Life viewer. A landmark for Miami University Island will appear on the right side of your viewer. Click “teleport.”
  • Your avatar will arrive at Miami Island. Look for the information kiosk labeled Segue, and click on it for further information and instructions.


Slow Connection

If your avatar is moving at a frustratingly slow pace and you’re spending most of your time waiting and/or not being able to move or chat or anything and you feel like logging out forever before you’ve even done a single thing in Second Life:

  • You may have a slow Internet connection or low bandwidth. Try to avoid using wireless if possible; use a hardwired broadband connection. If you’re still using dial-up, try entering the 21st Century and getting a broadband connection. Sheesh.
  • It may be that your computer is having difficulty handling all the stuff that Second Life is throwing at it. Try this:
    • Close all other applications.
    • In your Second Life viewer, click “Me > Preferences.”
    • In the pop up window, click on “Graphics.”
    • You’ll see something that looks like this:

Graphics tab

    • Tick the little “Custom” window in the upper right.
    • Beside “Quality and Performance,” move the slider to “Mid” or “Low.”
    • Beside “Draw Distance,” move the slider to 90m or lower.
    • Beside “Max. Particle Count,” move the slider all the way to the left.
    • Under “Mesh Detail,” move the sliders as far to the left as you dare.
    • Under “Shaders,” un-tick everything except “Basic Shaders.”
    • Under “Lighting Detail,” select “Sun and moon only.”
    • Click the “Hardware Options” button and: 1) un-tick “Anisotropic filtering,” 2) ensure that “Antialiasing” is disabled, 3) un-tick “Enable OpenGL,” and 4) set “Fog Distance Ratio” to 2.0.
    • Now click the “Audio and Video” tab on the left. Beside “Streaming,” be sure all boxes are un-ticked.

Lowering your graphics settings will make Second Life look not as pretty as it could, but at least you’ll be able to get around. For a more complete introduction to tweaking your viewer’s settings, visit http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Preferences_window








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